In Department of Theatre and Media Arts, Experiential Learning

Conference attendees participate in a table reading of student work. (Lindsey Tippets)

Media arts students heard from Oscar-nominated screenwriter Paul Schrader and other industry professionals 

The Department of Theatre and Media Arts hosted its fourth biennial Writers’ Conference May 29-June 1, bringing together film students, professors and industry professionals at BYU’s Timpanogos Lodge in Provo Canyon.

As a craft, writing can be a difficult balance between solitary work and collaboration. Many students struggle to find the confidence and community necessary to share their work, prompting media arts professors Tom Russell and Courtney Russell to organize an immersive retreat that fosters connections, training and experience giving and receiving feedback.  

“The conference is such a unique experience that writers don’t usually get,” explained Elise Finlinson, a media arts student with screenwriting and production design emphases. “Writers are notorious for isolating themselves, so it’s good to get us all in a room together. It’s a great way to share and hear from some incredible people in the industry, network with my peers and get professional exposure I wouldn’t get any other way.”

The conference boasted a host of special guests — from alums and local film industry professionals to Oscar-nominated screenwriter, director and critical writer Paul Schrader — giving students a sense of the broader writing community outside of their BYU classrooms and projects. 

Read more about the Writers’ Conference at the TMA website.

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